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Report of the School Committee, March, 1836.

THE committee, in discharge of their duties, have held regular monthly meetings, and others when necessary to provide for the welfare of the Schools. They have had public examinations of the whole every quarter; have often visited them informally at other times; and have done what they could, in every way, to carry into effect the provisions of the report of a special committee adopted by the Town April 6, 1835. And they beg leave to express their high gratification at the present condition of the schools, and the happy results which already appear from the working of the new System. [p. 138]

The Board recommend the Primary Schools to your particular attention. They are deeply impressed with the importance of thorough elementary instruction in early childhood. Wherever this has been neglected and children have gone into the large, Master's Schools, but ill grounded in the rudiments of education, they have been under great disadvantages which have seldom or never been overcome in after life. Great care therefore is necessary in selecting competent and faithful teachers for the Primary Schools, where the foundation of all good learning is laid and habits of study commonly determined. In order to accomplish these objects the better, the Committee recommend that these Schools should in future be kept nine months in the year instead of six. While they express their satisfaction with the good they have done the past year, they are of opinion that a longer duration would make them proportionately more useful.

The two Grammar Schools appear, at least, as well as in any previous year, in many respects better, although nearly forty of the best scholars have been removed from them to the High School. The very encouraging condition of these Schools, notwithstanding the above temporary disadvantage, may be attributed in a great measure to the following causes.

1. We have had able teachers who were deeply interested in the improvement of the schools under their care, and the pupils themselves have been undoubtedly excited to greater diligence by the hope of qualifying themselves for the higher School.

2. The scholars being more nearly on an equality in age and advancement than they formerly were, it is easier to maintain good order among them by applying methods of government adapted to their years and standing.

3. The limited number of their Studies allows the Masters more time to give them thorough instruction; [p. 139] for they can be formed into fewer and larger classes and taught with more ease and success than they could be, if the more advanced pupils, pursuing different branches of education, were gathered into the same Schools. The advantage arising from division of labor is well known to all who have any experience in the work of instruction. Accordingly we find that in many towns large enough to afford the expense, separate Schools are established for writing and arithmetic only.

The Board are of opinion that the experiment of a High School has so far been as successful as could have been reasonably expected, notwithstanding the disadvantage of a change in Instructors, occasioned by the appointment of the first Master to an office in the University. It will be considered that most of the Scholars in this school are but little more than twelve years of age, and have been in it too short a time to have advanced to the higher studies, nevertheless its progress has been so considerable and its present condition and habits are so satisfactory, as to justify the belief that it will at no distant period, fulfil the most sanguine expectations of its friends.

The number of Scholars in all the different schools is as follows:

Primary Schools.The ages of the scholars are in the Primary Schools, from 4 to 8
West62The ages of the scholars are in the Grammar Schools from 8 to 12
Symmes neighborhood20The ages of the scholars are in the High School from 12 upwards
Grammar Schools.
High School55

The Board are happy to observe that the government of the Schools is strict, though it appears to be maintained, [p. 140] by the carefulness of the Instructors, with little or no severity. During the year but two cases of discipline occurred which required the intervention of the Committee. In one instance the refractory scholar, after proper admonition, submitted to authority and returned to his duty. The other offender, yet remaining self-willed and obstinate, is excluded from his school as a solemn warning to others of the miserable consequences of an undutiful and disobedient spirit. All which is respectfully submitted.

School Committee.

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James Wellington (1)
John Symmes (1)
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John C. Magoun (1)
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Galen James (1)
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